Beer Cheese Recipe

Grab a pretzel (or anything, quite frankly) and get dippin'.

A round ceramic plate holding two Bavarian-style pretzels and a small bowl of beer cheese. Part of one pretzel is being dipped into the beer cheese by a hand.

Serious Eats / Qi Ai

Why This Recipe Works

  • Dijon, Worcestershire, and hot sauce round out the savory sharpness of the cheddar and mild bitterness from the beer.
  • Cornstarch stabilizes the emulsion, resulting in a glossy and smooth sauce that doesn't separate.

On a recent trip to Houston, I found myself at Anvil Bar & Refuge downing one of the finest cocktails known to man, Pliney's Tonic—that's gin, lime, cucumber, mint, and habañero. After one too many of these, I needed some sustenance and ordered their gigantic pretzel with beer cheese. I don't know if it was the alcohol or not, but at that moment, I thought that beer cheese was freaking amazing. After finishing one plate and another drink, I couldn't help but get another pretzel and cheese combo.

That night had a lasting impact on me, and I felt a strong desire to make a batch of beer cheese at home. I started the recipe similar to Kenji's cheese sauce, with cornstarch-coated cheddar and evaporated milk. Beer is a huge new component here; wanting to add flavor and not just volume, I chose a nice nutty brown ale to serve as a base. The sauce was still missing something, though, so I kept building with Dijon, Worcestershire, and a little Texas Pete. Finally I had a sauce as incredible as what I remembered from that one drunken evening.

The sharpness of the cheddar was complemented by a slight bitterness from the brown ale that made the sauce very distinct. The other ingredients gave it a robustness that was otherwise missing. A soft pretzel straight out of the oven seems like the most perfect pairing, but I'm sure anything you wish to dip in this sauce will come out delicious.

February 2013

Recipe Details

Beer Cheese Recipe

Active 10 mins
Total 10 mins
Serves 12 servings
Makes 3 cups

Grab a pretzel (or anything, quite frankly) and get dippin'.


  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer, preferably brown ale

  • 5 ounces evaporated milk

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

  • Kosher salt, to taste


  1. Toss cheese with cornstarch in a medium bowl; set aside.

    A stainless steel bowl holding shredded cheese tossed with corn starch.

    Serious Eats / Qi Ai

  2. Whisk together beer, milk, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until gently steaming, whisking frequently to prevent scorching.

    Beer, milk, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard being whisked together in a stainless steel saucepan.

    Serious Eats / Qi Ai

  3. When beer mixture is warm, add cheese, stirring until completely melted, bubbling slightly, and thickened. Stir in hot sauce and season with salt to taste; serve immediately.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows the starch-coated cheese being poured from the metal mixing bowl into the saucepan holding the heated liquids. The bottom image shows the cheese now fully incorporated into the heated liquids.

    Serious Eats / Qi Ai

Special Equipment

Saucepan, whisk.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
152 Calories
11g Fat
4g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 152
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 32mg 11%
Sodium 289mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 238mg 18%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 78mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)